A convenient public transportation system is often a big part of what motivates people to move into particular neighborhoods and cities.
And according to Walk Score, living near public transportation could have more benefits than you think. Homes within walking distance of transit systems tend to outperform others in the region, while commuters save money when they don’t have to pay to own and maintain a car.
Research has even shown that living near good public transit could make you happier.
In their most recent ranking of the country’s public transportation systems, Walk Score took data from 316 U.S. cities and thousands of neighborhoods and assigned a “Transit Score” to each.
The Transit Scores consider frequency, type of route, and distance between stops, but system efficiency is notably missing. Scores were scaled out of a possible 100 points.
Overall, Transit Scores for cities outside of the top five were surprisingly low, which raises questions about the state of the country’s mass transportation in general. Older cities in the Northeast with established systems tended to score higher, though some West Coast cities investing in their transit also did relatively well in the rankings.
10. Portland (Transit Score: 49.6)
Portland ranked in the top 10 due to its bus and light rail systems, but it’s best known for being a haven for walkers and cyclists.
9. Los Angeles (Transit Score: 49.9)
Given Los Angeles’ notorious traffic, it’s pretty surprising to see this city coming in at the number 9 slot. However, the City of Angels has a huge bus ridership, and billions of dollars are being funneled into expanding the light-rail network.
The Charm City Circulator drives around downtown Baltimore.
8. Baltimore (Transit Score: 56.9)
With 105 bus routes (including the new, green Charm City Circulator), plus light rail and ferry options, Baltimore is fairly easy to get around.
7. Seattle (Transit Score: 57.3)
Extensive plans to expand the Sound Transit light rail line over the next couple of years means that Seattle’s public transportation system will continue to improve.
6. Chicago (Transit Score: 65.3)
Chicago’s neighborhoods are connected by the “L” and Metra Rail systems. The Windy City is also friendly to walkers, earning a respectable walkability score of 75.
5. Philadelphia (Transit Score: 67)
SEPTA operates a variety of different services, including buses, light rail, trolleys, and two subway lines, and the city is very walkable.
The Dupont Circle Metro station in Washington, D.C.
4. Washington, D.C. (Transit Score: 70.4)
The Metrorail is one of the busiest rapid transit rail systems in the country. The city is also in the midst of a 6-year rebuilding program that aims to improve the public transportation experience with new lighting, signs, and cars.
3. Boston (Transit Score: 74.8)
Boston’s Green Line is home to the oldest subway tunnel in the country. Today’s rail and bus lines are very convenient for commuters, plus it’s rated the third most walkable city in the U.S.
2. San Francisco (Transit Score: 80.5)
BART and MUNI will get you around the city, while CalTrain makes for an easy and pleasant commute from Silicon Valley.
1. New York City (Transit Score: 81.2)
It should be no surprise that the Big Apple comes in first on this list. Whether it’s by subway, bus, or Citi Bike, you’re never more than a 10- or 15-minute walk from some form of public transportation in New York.
Here’s a look at the rankings arranged by region.
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